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French Beauty Makers Face Fines

November 30, 2010

Cour de Cassation issues ruling on price fixing activities from 1997-2000.

France’s leading prestige beauty players may have to pay out a total of 46.2 million euros, or $61.8 million at current exchange, in fines for cartel activities dating from more than a decade ago.

The Cour de Cassation, France’s highest court, last week overturned a 2009 appeals court decision dismissing the case for allegations of price-fixing practices between 1997 and 2000.

A spokeswoman for the Autorité de la Concurrence, whose predecessor, the Conseil de la Concurrence, sentenced 13 of France’s leading cosmetics manufacturers to pay the fines back in 2006, said this means the fines are once again due. She expects the companies concerned to appeal the Cour de Cassation’s decision.

“L’Oréal’s Luxury Products Division has taken note of the Cour de Cassation’s decision of Nov. 23 and reiterates its position whereby the company did not take part in any price-fixing agreement whatsoever with distributors of its brands,” stated a spokeswoman for L’Oréal, which is liable for a total of 4.1 million euros, or $5.5 million.

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